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(Not So) Simple, Flavored, & Spiced Syrups


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#31 mbanu

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:16 PM

Usually ends up about the same viscosity as pancake syrup whenever I make it... thin enough to swirl and pour instead of ooze, but thick enough to coat the sides of the bottle.

Do you keep your syrup in the fridge? Cold can thicken syrup too much sometimes... If you're making a fruit syrup like grenadine, where the liquid is already sweet, a 1.5 to 1 ratio instead of 2 to 1 seems to work a bit better.

#32 JAZ

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 12:09 AM

I've noticed a different viscosity between the syrups I make with white sugar and with demerara; the latter seems much thicker.

I haven't been really careful measuring -- that is, I make a 2-1 syrup, but I don't weigh my ingredients, I measure them. So I'm not sure whether the difference is due to something in the different sugars, or the way they measure out. When I get some spare time, I hope to do some more experimentation, weighing ingredients and being more careful in general.

When I get around to that, I'll post my results.

#33 slkinsey

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:13 AM

I've noticed a different viscosity between the syrups I make with white sugar and with demerara; the latter seems much thicker.

Interesting. I usually make demerara syrup at 2:1 and white syrup at 1:1 (these are the concentrations usually specified in the recipes I use). It strikes me that a 2:1 white syrup would normally have a greater concentration of syrup than a 2:1 demerara syrup simply because most demerara sugar comes in big chunky crystals whereas white sugar usually comes in fine granules. As a result, a cup of fine white sugar contains more sugar than a cup of rough demerara sugar. On the other hand, some health food stores have demerara sugar granulated so fine it is almost powder. If you're using that, it would of course produce a syrup with greater concentration than white.


When making cocktails at home with 2:1 simple syrup from the refrigerator, it's always a good idea to put the syrup bottle into a pan of warm water while you're getting the rest of your ingredients together. That way it will pour just fine by the time you're ready to add the syrup to the shaker.
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#34 Alchemist

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:56 AM

I have found using dried additives, the shelf life is much longer and the syrup is more intense because you aren't introducing extra H20 into your simple. I haven't tried it with mint, but I will be giving that a whirl soon. For fall I am planning on infusing some simple with dried apricots, some clove and nutmeg and then throwing in a bit of rye.



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#35 Kent Wang

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:17 PM

What are your thoughts on using other sugars for making a simple syrup, for the purpose of mixing? Billington's, in particular, seems interesting as they make some truly tasty dark molasses and light muscovado sugars.

#36 The Old Foodie

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 12:36 AM

Palm sugar? It makes a great syrup for poaching fruit - especially with an Asian-style meal (or drink?).
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#37 KatieLoeb

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:40 AM

Trader Joe's Organic Turbinado Sugar makes a delicious dark simple syrup that can stand in adequately when I don't have real cane syrup around. The real thing is better, but this works quite well in rum and tequila drinks.

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#38 Kent Wang

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 07:00 PM

I just made a simple syrup with Billington's dark molasses sugar. Divine! It had a heady sugar cane aroma. I even diluted some and poured it over ice for a simple sugar water drink. It was quite possibly the best non-alcoholic sweet drink I've had in a long time.

#39 David Santucci

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 03:56 PM

I particularly like what happens when you melt piloncillo, the Central/South American loaf sugar.

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I've been wanting to try this. How much piloncillo to how much water do you use?

Edited by David Santucci, 06 November 2006 - 03:58 PM.


#40 eje

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:18 PM

For rich simple syrup, I normally use a 2-1 syrup made from C&H Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar.

Lately, though, I've seen Depaz Cane Syrup in some stores.

It's pretty pricy, at least $13 for a 750ml bottle.

Would it be a worthwhile upgrade over the Washed Raw Sugar Syrup I currently use?
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#41 KatieLoeb

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:28 PM

I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters. Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions? I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point. It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks! I trust all of you implicitly.

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#42 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 02:00 AM

I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters.  Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions?  I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point.  It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks!  I trust all of you implicitly.

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Thyme and red vermouth tastes good in my head.

Of course, I get called crazy regularly :-P
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#43 Splificator

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 08:05 AM

I particularly like what happens when you melt piloncillo, the Central/South American loaf sugar.

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I've been wanting to try this. How much piloncillo to how much water do you use?

View Post

This question slipped by me. But if it's not too late, for syrup, I usually use a one-pound block of piloncillo and a cup of water. If I'm using it to sweeten up a bowl of Punch, I'll double the water, which makes it a bit easier to melt, and subtract that extra cup from the total water in the recipe.
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#44 KatieLoeb

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 10:50 PM

I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters.  Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions?  I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point.  It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks!  I trust all of you implicitly.

View Post


Thyme and red vermouth tastes good in my head.

Of course, I get called crazy regularly :-P

View Post


Red vermouth? :hmmm: I'll give that one a shot later. Or maybe something with some sort of amaro? That could be interesting too.

I tried my lemon-thyme-gin experiment at home tonight and it definitely has potential. Sadly, I was in such a rush to get to work this afternoon in the foul weather, I forgot to bring the thyme syrup and Lemon bitters to work with me. So I made the drink when I got home with Hendrick's and Dubonnet Blonde since it's what I had in the house. It was pretty good, but I think it will be better with the aforementioned orange twist (I only had lemons and limes in the house) and I have to be careful with the Fee Lemon Bitters. The hole on the top of this bottle is definitely larger than in the other Fee bitters I have and a lot comes out at once. Definitely not a bottle to "dash" from. I might transfer them to an eyedropper bottle or see if I can locate an empty bottle that will "dash" like I want it to.

Anyone know where to find refillable bottles that have a really small opening on top?

Katie M. Loeb
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#45 Kent Wang

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:56 AM

See Specialty sugars thread.

#46 bostonapothecary

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 11:49 PM

to make things last longer no one really mentioned sterilizing your storage vessels but that might have been obvious....its amazing all the yeasts and moldy things that exist in the air....

a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup. finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century.... the solution....maltodextrin!

if you so desire you can give your syrups body and sometimes a perceived sweetness without adding more sugar with the addition of the maltodextrin....

i thinks its like honey which is often perceived as sweet but if you use one of the those sugar measuring things it does not register very high....stevia is perceived as extremely sweet too.

i use the syrup mostly everywhere but specifically in sazeracs where that lusteriousness makes them slide down your throat....texture and body without cloying sweetness....the trick to working with maltodextrin or even real arabic gum is to stir it dry with your sugar because otherwise the particles will clump up. i add half a cup to one liter of 1:1 simple syrup.... maltodextrin is virtually free at brewery supply shops....

i use agave nectar in a couple liqueurs i make but most notably my aphrodesiac anejo for thematic reasons and because alcohol absorbs it so fast.... a batch can be ready in days. also because it's percieved sweetness is higher than white sugar i need to use less keeping my alcohol content pretty high.

it is hard to definitively figgure out, but should be noted in making exotic flavored syrups that essential oils come out at different temperatures, and dissolve differently in different substances....i.e. water or alcohol....if you boil something in a syrup at too high a temp you can so easily evaporate all the flavors you want keep....

a interesting note on shelf lifes.... flavor chemists calculate the time for example a mint chocolate will be on the shelf before its eaten. the mint is constantly breaking down....to get it right when it will be eaten a year later it might be unbarably minty when its too fresh....that probably doesn't help anyone....it never helped me but i always found it interesting creepy....

some syrups also for some reason do so much better as liqueurs. i haven't been able to explain it well.... allspice syrup is nothing like pimento dram....the alcohol is necessary to bind all those spicy flavors together

my summer idea is to make an epic mint syrup with as many types of mint as i can get my hands on so it rolls across your tongue....i will make the most epic southside ever.....

cheers!

a question: i thought most all essential oils came out of a substance before the bitter compenents so how does blanching notoriously bitter things such as rinds remove the bitter but keep the essential oils? for curacaos they bleach the orange peels in the sun..... anyone got a scientific explanation or tips to control negative bitters?
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#47 slkinsey

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 08:08 AM

a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup.  finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century....  the solution....maltodextrin!

I don't see it on their web site, but I believe Kalustyan's sells gum arabic. There are also other places where you can buy it. So, no reason to make a fake gomme syrup.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#48 bostonapothecary

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 11:39 AM

a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup.  finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century....  the solution....maltodextrin!

I don't see it on their web site, but I believe Kalustyan's sells gum arabic. There are also other places where you can buy it. So, no reason to make a fake gomme syrup.

View Post



that gomme arabic is massively expensive and cost prohibitive to your syrups....thats probably why no one really uses the real stuff. maltodextrin is nearly identical on a molecular level and they started replacing arabic gomme with it at the turn of the century.... jerry thomas may not have had it but they did during prohibition. the beauty of it is that its nearly free.... dollar a pound vs. many dollars an ounce....

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#49 eje

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:03 PM

Hmm...

From the name I initially thought maltodextrin had something to do with maltose (malt sugar). I see it does not. Most that you would buy in a brewery store are industrial products created from Corn or Potato starch. Looks like it is sometimes used as a shortcut to add mouthfeel to home brew made without malting your own grain.

It does seem like some maltodextrins are naturally occurring. An in-between state between starches and simple sugars.

Oh, here're a few more that are used in place of Gum Arabic:

Gum tragacanth (Astragalus gummifer, E413) is a related exudate gum consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides including an arabinogalactan containing α-L-arabinofuranose and 1-4-linked β-D-galalactopyranose [367] and an acidic complex poly-1-4-linked α-D-galalacturonate. It is used as an acid-resistant thickener and emulsifier in sauces, salad dressings and confectionery lozenges. Yet another exudate gum, gum karaya (Sterculia urens) has similar physical properties but consists of an α-D-galacturonic acid/α-L-rhamnose backbone with β-D-galactose and β-D glucuronic acid side chains. Another related gum is the principal component of mesquite gum (Prosopis); an arabinogalactan with a β-1,3-galactopyran core and L-arabinose side chains.

(I don't really understand all that stuff!)

Source: Gum Arabic

Edited by eje, 28 February 2007 - 12:17 PM.

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#50 slkinsey

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:12 PM

that gomme arabic is massively expensive and cost prohibitive to your syrups....thats probably why no one really uses the real stuff.

I see some gum arabic right here at around 22 bucks for a pound. Considering the amounts one is likely to use, that doesn't strike me as prohibitively expensive. Isn't the classic gomme syrup also supersaturated?

Here is Dave's recipe from the (currently offline) Esquire pages:

To make it, slowly stir 1 pound gum arabic into one pint distilled water and let soak for a day or two. When this solution is ready, bring four pounds sugar and one quart distilled water to a boil, add the gum solution and skim off the foam. Let it cool, filter it through cheesecloth and bottle it.

I assume one could make an even more concentrated syrup, if desired.
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#51 eje

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:24 PM

[...]
Isn't the classic gomme syrup also supersaturated?
[...]

View Post

Oh, I see! I've read somewhere that classic gomme was made at something like 9-1 sugar to water ratio. I was trying to figure out how on earth all that sugar wouldn't just spontaneously crystallize out of solution. But, I guess the gomme, would somehow prevent that crystallization, like adding some portion of corn syrup to candies?

Edited by eje, 28 February 2007 - 12:25 PM.

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#52 bostonapothecary

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 02:49 PM

[...]
Isn't the classic gomme syrup also supersaturated?
[...]

View Post

Oh, I see! I've read somewhere that classic gomme was made at something like 9-1 sugar to water ratio. I was trying to figure out how on earth all that sugar wouldn't just spontaneously crystallize out of solution. But, I guess the gomme, would somehow prevent that crystallization, like adding some portion of corn syrup to candies?

View Post


that 9 to 1 ratio is really interesting.... i am going to have to play with it....

i first read about maltodextrin in ancient issues of scientific american and then found that modern pastry chefs used it....

people put it in beer because it does not ferment and is mainly added to maintain the head on a beer.... not all beers have a nice head but too many people think they should....

i am really curious about this intense ratio...i'm sure you'd just use less witch might leave more room for alcohol....

i want to make a sazerac with the right texture and without a cloying sweetness....

another flavor chemistry tidbit... supposedly no particular sweetener is best. it all depends on the flavor you pair it with. in theory you want your sensation of sweetness to come after the initial flavor you want to promote. some flavors hit your tongue in wierd spots and therefore sucrose might not be the best choice...

i've never been able to do anything with this concept but it always struck me as interesting....

with maltodextrin i tried to make "sipping" versions of a couple liqueurs. i made a version of my "kahawa jimbi m'wengo" which is a swahili coffee liqueur recipe with aged rum, madagascar vanilla beans, african turbinado, and yirgacheffe which is basically heirloom ethiopian coffee from the first source of coffee....

i wanted to make it less sweet so it would be about 70 proof or so but still have great mouth feel. it sorta worked. i just need smarter people to taste and critique it...

cheers!
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#53 eje

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:57 AM

that 9 to 1 ratio is really interesting.... i am going to have to play with it....

[...]

i am really curious about this intense ratio...i'm sure you'd just use less witch might leave more room for alcohol....
[...]

View Post

Well, I don't know if it is even possible. I believe I read it somewhere on the internet. Maybe one of ThinkingBartender's posts*?

Looking at gum syrup recipe from Thomas' "How to Mix Drinks" on Darcy O'Neil's Art of the Drink site, I see a more conservative amount of sugar given. Looks to be somewhere a little less than 2-1 sugar to water by weight.

It seems like there are several other gums which might be interesting. Locust Bean Gum in particular, seemed interesting to me, as it forms a gel. Also, unlike Gum Arabic and Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum hydrates in water at room temperature, so it wouldn't require cooking.

PS. I love the "Essence of Cognac" recipe on that same page of "How to Mix Drinks".

*Found it: Bacardi Cocktail

Edited by eje, 01 March 2007 - 10:35 AM.

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#54 bostonapothecary

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:41 AM

Essence of Cognac.
Take 1 ounce of oil of cognac.
½ gallon of spirits (95 per cent.).
1 gallon of spirits (70 per cent.).
2 ounces of strong ammonia.
1 pound of fine black tea.
2 pounds of prunes.


i have a couple books entirely devoted to faking various spirits.... it can be fun and rewarding to play with....

i think alot of people adulterate their spirits with black tea.... especially some of those barrique aged grappas.

there used to be a company back in the teens that sold all those oils. you could buy manongaheila oil to synthesize your own pennsylvania whiskey!

the books are pretty cool. they have like thirty different very promising recipes for aromatic cocktail bitters.... i have a pretty good collection of most of the required barks but i have not really gotten into it....
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#55 DCP

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 02:15 PM

This is probably heresy, but I like to use leftover syrup from home-candied fruits. It's probably more like 3:1 than 2:1 by the time it's done reducing, but the richly-infused flavor can't be beat. I have about 1/2 cup left over from candied blood oranges with cayenne and Grand Marnier that has lent fascinating flavors to orange libations.
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#56 slkinsey

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:57 PM

I'm getting ready to embark upon a gomme syrup experiment. Question: has anyone, either in making gomme or regular old simple syrup, experimented with the clarification procedures outlined in the Charles Schultz appendix to "How to Mix Drinks"? He says that sugar and water should be mixed with well beaten egg whites, put on the heat, allowed to rise and subside three times, the resulting scum skimmed off, and then the whole works strained. Is there any point whatsoever to doing this, or was this procedure developed to deal with loaf sugar that was not as refined as today's white sugar. He's also got an even stranger procedure for "extra white" clarified sugar, involving ivory black (charcoal made from ivory, but fundamentally "bone char" -- which is animal bone charcoal).

After doing a little googling, I see that most white sugar nowadays is already decolorized either with bone char or activated charcoal. I suppose this would make clarification superfluous?
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#57 eje

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:08 PM

Inspired by a recent Robert Hess Spirit World article on the Pisco Punch, I am thinking of going ahead with a homemade Gomme Syrup.

Pisco and the Pisco Punch

It was smooth and good. It was fragrant, seductive and delicate. My wife has asked me not to drink it again.

The difference between what I tasted when I first made it and what was served that day was not a difference in flavor, but in texture and bite. I am convinced that the mystery ingredient in Pisco Punch is nothing more than gum arabic, and that it works in some way to take all the rough edges off the Peruvian brandy and perhaps alter the rate of absorption or metabolism of the alcohol in it.


Anyone have tips for gomme making?

Interestingly, it appears the main source for Gum Arabic is Sudan, which may account somewhat for its price.
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#58 slkinsey

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:14 PM

I have made two batches of gomme syrup with gum arabic, according to Dave's instructions I posted above, one white sugar and one demerara sugar. I have yet to do any definitive s-de-by-side testing, but it's noticably thicker and more viscous compared to regular simple syrup with the same sweetening power -- so much so that it won't really flow through a speed pourer at room temperature.

Edited by slkinsey, 29 May 2007 - 12:42 PM.

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#59 eje

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:31 PM

I have made two batches of gomme arabic, according to Dave's instructions I posted above, one white sugar and one demerara sugar.  I have yet to do any definitive s-de-by-side testing, but it's noticably thicker and more viscous compared to regular simple syrup with the same sweetening power -- so much so that it won't really flow through a speed pourer at room temperature.

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How does it work out, using it in cocktails?

Are there problems getting the gelled syrup to dissolve?

Do you think it is worth the effort?
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#60 slkinsey

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:39 PM

Haven't done much testing. I'll be bringing samples to my friends in Pegu, D&C and elsewhere to see what they think.

No troubles using it or getting it to dissolve.

It's not a small amount of effort, so it's hard to say whether it's worth it -- or, rather, to what extent it's worth it. I think I've detected increased silkyness in the cocktails I've made using gomme syrup, but am reluctant to say this is for sure true until I've done side-by-side testing.

Edited by slkinsey, 29 May 2007 - 12:40 PM.

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